This past year has been such a joyous feedbag of fodder for commentary, such a wealth of folly and struggle inviting critique, that one scarcely knows where to begin.
Yet, we must, for what would the end of another year be without lists of the most noteworthy events of the preceding 12 months? The Armchair Mayor’s Top 10 of 2010 might be a little different than others, being based as it is upon those choice topics that made it into this space.
The list, therefore, is a hybrid of what was “big news” and what seemed to strike a cord among faithful readers of this column. Herewith, working our way to the top:
10. Christmas — Who would have thought Christmas would be such a topic of controversy during its very own season, when we are supposed to be filled with the spirit of it all? Yet, there it was, and you read about the Winter Break first, right here. In partnership with atheism and bus signs, it makes a worthy listee.
9. The Good Samaritan trucker — When Alex Fraser stopped to help what appeared to be stranded motorists one September night, he got a beating that put him in hospital, raising the question of why people are reluctant to help others in emergency situations.
8. HST petition — Would be ranked higher but it’s predominantly a provincial story with local implications. This armchair analyst called it “a victory for good, old, clumsy, imperfect, direct democracy.”
7. City Bylaws Department — Yes, it was another stellar year, highlighted by a July case in bylaws court over an astoundingly petty $500 ticket issued a skateboard mom for alleged littering. After a legal appeal by the mom, the department was appropriately taken to task.
6. The Kamloops Project — In a totally heart-warming and reaffirming exercise in community sharing, more than 600 residents recorded in pictures and words a moment in their lives Oct. 9, and posted it on a website set up by The Daily News. And ever since I took a photo of my old pickup truck that day, people keep asking me when I’m going to get it on the road.
5. Interior Health Authority — Increasingly referred to as the “Inferior Health Authority,” it moved administration of Royal Inland Hospital to Kelowna, then struggled through a series of so-called “dirty tools” embarrassments at RIH culminating in a rinse-cycle episode involving endoscopic instruments. And the parking’s no hell, either.
4. Sex in the cells — It was a bad PR year for our local RCMP detachment, but at least people weren’t laughing. That is, not until a number of officers and civic staff were caught enjoying a lesbian sex encounter in a detachment cell in September. Several investigations followed.
3. Parkade-at-the-park — In a remarkable misreading of public sentiment, City council accepted a report from staff on the concept of building a parkade at Riverside Park, then compounded it by ordering up an expensive study on soil conditions at the site.
2. and 1. ACC gasification plan, and Wilbert Bartley. A tie puts two very different stories at the top. The ACC story, a carry-over from the previous year, generated public protest like no other in recent memory as a small group of “environmentalists” whipped up fear. The Bartley case generated its own headlines and protests after he was shot and killed by two RCMP officers in late July.
And there you have it. Is it comprehensive? Absolutely not. It doesn’t include some of my personal favorites such as beige buildings, the new TRU president’s haircut, trips to China, and my own 40th anniversary in Kamloops, but the above list at least proves a point: life in the Loops is anything but dull.